Friday, October 01, 2004



VIOLA.—Ay, but I know,—

DUKE.—What dost thou know?

VIOLA.—Too well what love women to men may owe:
In faith, they are as true of heart as we.
My father had a daughter loved a man,
As it might be, perhaps, were I a woman,
I should your lordship.

DUKE.—And what's her history?

VIOLA.—A blank, my lord. She never told her love,
But let concealment, like a worm i' the bud,
Feed on her damask cheek; she pined in thought;
And, with a green and yellow melancholy,
She sat like Patience on a monument,
Smiling at grief. Was not this love, indeed?
We men may say more, swear more: but, indeed,
Our shows are more than will; for still we prove
Much in our vows, but little in our love.

William Shakespeare

Tuesday, September 28, 2004


The Princess sat lone in her maiden bower,
The lad blew his horn at the foot of the tower.
"Why playest thou alway? Be silent, I pray,
It fetters my thoughts that would flee far away.

As the sun goes down."

In her maiden bower sat the Princess forlorn,
The lad had ceased to play on his horn.
"Oh, why art thou silent? I beg thee to play!
It gives wings to my thought that would flee far away,

As the sun goes down."

In her maiden bower sat the Princess forlorn,
Once more with delight played the lad on his horn.
She wept as the shadows grew long, and she sighed:
"Oh, tell me, my God, what my heart doth betide,

Now the sun has gone down."

From the Norwegian of BJÖRNSTJERNE BJÖRNSON.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004


For aught that ever I could read,
Could ever hear by tale or history,
The course of true love never did run smooth:
But, either it was different in blood,
Or else misgraffèd in respect of years,
Or else it stood upon the choice of friends;
Or, if there were a sympathy in choice,
War, death, or sickness did lay siege to it,
Making it momentary as a sound,
Swift as a shadow, short as any dream;
Brief as the lightning in the collied night,
That, in a spleen, unfolds both heaven and earth,
And ere a man hath power to say,—Behold!
The jaws of darkness do devour it up:
So quick bright things come to confusion.

William Shakespeare

Tuesday, September 14, 2004


Lady Clara Vere de Vere,

Of me you shall not win renown;
You thought to break a country heart

For pastime, ere you went to town.
At me you smiled, but unbeguiled

I saw the snare, and I retired:
The daughter of a hundred Earls,

You are not one to be desired.

Lady Clara Vere de Vere,

I know you proud to bear your name;
Your pride is yet no mate for mine,

Too proud to care from whence I came.
Nor would I break for your sweet sake

A heart that dotes on truer charms.
A simple maiden in her flower

Is worth a hundred coats-of-arms.

Lady Clara Vere de Vere,

Some meeker pupil you must find,
For were you queen of all that is,

I could not stoop to such a mind.
You sought to prove how I could love,

And my disdain is my reply.
The lion on your old stone gates

Is not more cold to you than I.

Lady Clara Vere de Vere,

You put strange memories in my head.
Not thrice your branching lines have blown

Since I beheld young Laurence dead.
O your sweet eyes, your low replies:

A great enchantress you may be;
But there was that across his throat

Which you had hardly cared to see.

Lady Clara Vere de Vere,

When thus he met his mother's view,
She had the passions of her kind,

She spake some certain truths of you.
Indeed I heard one bitter word

That scarce is fit for you to hear;
Her manners had not that repose

Which stamps the caste of Vere de Vere.

Lady Clara Vere de Vere,

There stands a spectre in your hall:
The guilt of blood is at your door:

You changed a wholesome heart to gall.
You held your course without remorse,

To make him trust his modest worth,
And, last, you fixed a vacant stare,

And slew him with your noble birth.

Trust me, Clara Vere de Vere,

From yon blue heavens above us bent
The grand old gardener and his wife

Smile at the claims of long descent.
Howe'er it be, it seems to me,

'T is only noble to be good.
Kind hearts are more than coronets,

And simple faith than Norman blood.

I know you, Clara Vere de Vere:

You pine among your halls and towers:
The languid light of your proud eyes

Is wearied of the rolling hours.
In glowing health, with boundless wealth,

But sickening of a vague disease,
You know so ill to deal with time,

You needs must play such pranks as these.

Clara, Clara Vere de Vere,

If Time be heavy on your hands,
Are there no beggars at your gate.

Nor any poor about your lands?
Oh! teach the orphan-boy to read,

Or teach the orphan-girl to sew,
Pray Heaven for a human heart,

And let the foolish yeoman go.